Meerut on the boil again; security beefed up

Girl says she was kidnapped, gang-raped and forced to convert

Meerut on the boil again; security beefed up

Tension mounted again in the communally sensitive town of Meerut, about 500 km from here, after news broke out that a girl was gang-raped and  forced to convert while she was held hostage at a madarsa for several days.

Hundreds of people took to the streets and laid siege to a police station and pelted stones at the homes of members of a particular community, triggering tension in the area on Sunday, police sources said.

The police later swung into action and arrested three men, including the pradhan (chief) of the victim’s village. The government also suspended the in-charge of the local police station on charges of laxity.

Security personnel in strength have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order and senior officials were monitoring the situation, sources said.

According to reports, the girl, a resident of the neighbouring Hapur district, had gone missing about 10 days ago. Her parents had alleged that she had been kidnapped by members of a particular community. The victim, who is a graduate, had also taught at the local madarsa. 

Reports said that on Sunday the victim contacted her parents and informed them that she had been kidnapped by the pradhan and other people. 

Her parents, who later met the girl at the Meerut bus stand, said that she had been gang-raped and was also forced to convert. The victim told her parents that she had been kept at a madarsa in Muzaffarnagar, where there were many other girls.

As the news spread, hundreds of people gathered around Kahrkhanda police station demanding arrest of the culprits. 

A case was later registered against the pradhan and nine others. Three people have been arrested and efforts were on to nab the others. A police team has also been sent to the madarsa at Muzaffarnagar to ascertain if there are other girls who are being held forcibly, the sources added.

Meerut is close to both Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar, which have witnessed large scale communal violence in the past.

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